PUBPOL 313: Evidence-Based Policy Implementation

This course explores the multidimensional challenge of turning policy and program intentions into valued results on the ground. To understand why implementation so often falls short of expectation – and what might be done to raise the likelihood of policy success – requires an understanding of how public and non-profit organizations work in practice: how they construe their mission, mobilize and deploy resources, collaborate among themselves and with the public, measure and report their results, and make course corrections (among many other tasks). This course first explores the “force-field” of pressures shaping implementation, including political mandates, legal requirements and societal demands and pushback. It goes on to analyze key features of the organizational building blocks of implementation systems: public, private and non- profit actors. Several distinctive challenges facing actors in implementation systems are then explored: the interpretation of mandates, mobilization of human and financial resources, and measurement of the outputs and outcomes of implementation efforts. The course closes by examining the role that systematic evidence about the implementation process can play in service of democratic governance and policy effectiveness.

Current and Past Course Instructors